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Following the continuation of disruption to the travel industry, including the lockdown restrictions and the suspension of travel corridors, the Air Travel Trust (ATT) has made the decision to provide a short-term extension to issuing ATOL protected refund credit notes (RCNs), up to 30 April 2021. The current expiry date for ATOL protection of RCNs remains 30 September 2021.

This means that consumers whose package holiday bookings are cancelled continue to be able to safely accept a refund credit note where it is suitable for them. Consumers are entitled to a cash refund for a cancelled package holiday should they not wish to accept a refund credit note.

The same conditions as previously advised to travel companies will apply to refund credit notes:

  • They must be issued for a cancelled ATOL protected booking
  • The booking must have been cancelled by the tour operator due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • The refund credit note must be able to be exchanged for cash at a later date

All valid refund credit notes currently benefit from ATOL protection until 30 September 2021, at which point Government backing for their ATOL protection is set to end. The ATT recognises in some circumstances, it may not be possible for consumers to redeem their refund credit notes before this date and is working with Government to finalise a further update, which is expected shortly, on the position of RCNs to help address this issue.

Travel businesses are reminded that they must notify the Air Travel Trust of any refund credit notes issued by completing the appropriate forms.

Paul Smith, Consumer Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority said:

“Consumers are entitled to a full refund for cancelled package holidays. However, extending the deadline for issuing ATOL protected refund credit notes allows travel companies to offer this option, meaning that consumers will not be at financial risk if they choose to accept a refund credit note.”